The Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) began 2017 with a historic feat in world space science by sending 104 satellites through PSLV C37 on 15 February 2017. The 104 satellites included India’s Cartosat-2 and two nano-satellites.
The heavy duty rocket PSLV C37 that lifted-off these satellites at 9:28 am from Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota has placed them in the destined orbit in approximately 28 minutes according to the data received from various mission control centres.
The satellites will be injected in a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit at different slots at different angles and at different times.
With this launch, ISRO successfully created a world record of inserting the highest number of satellites into space in a single launch. Its previous personal record was of sending 20 satellites in one go.
The last count of the highest number of satellites launched in a single mission is 37 by Russia in 2014. This is the first time the count exceeds a hundred.
Payloads of PSLV-C37
• India’s Cartosat-2 Series satellite weighing 714 kilograms, which is meant for earth observation. It has a sharp resolution to provide quality earth images to its customers.
ISRO creates history by launching 104 satellites in a single mission (video source: http://www.isro.gov.in/)
• Other 103 payloads of the launch included two other nano-satellites, namely INS-1A and INS-1B, are from India and all the remaining 101 nano-satellites are from foreign customers including 96 from the US and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. All these 103 payloads together weighed 664 kilograms.
The total weight of all the 104 satellites carried on-board PSLV-C37 was 1378 kg. The total number of Indian satellites launched by PSLV now stands at 46.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) was launched after a 28-hour countdown for the launch that started at 5:28 AM on 14 February 2017. This was the 39th flight of PSLV into space.
Time slot of placing the satellites in orbit
PSLV-C37 was able to reach the Sun Synchronous Orbit of 505 kilometer inclined at an angle of 97.46 degree to the equator after a flight of 16 minutes 48 seconds. In succeeding 12 minutes all the 104 satellites were released in their respective orbits.
• The first satellite to be placed in its orbit was India’s Cartosat-2. It was released in its orbit in 17 minute 29 seconds after the lift-off.
• INS-1A was released in the orbit after 17 minute 39 seconds after the lift-off.
• INS-1B was released in the orbit after 17 minute 40 seconds after the lift-off.
ISRO’s Nano Satellite-1 (INS-1) weighing 8.4 kg and INS-2 weighing 9.7 kg – are technology demonstration satellites from India.
Foreign nano-satellites were released into their orbits using quadra packs. Quadrapack is a container that carries 3 to 4 nano-satellites that weighs between 1.7 kilogram and 4.7 kilogram each. In total 25 quadra packs were released in their orbits. All quadra packs containing 101 foreign satellites were ejected from PSLV-C37 within an interval of 4 to 12 seconds. There were 28 such intervals.
The first pair of nano-satellite was placed in its orbit after 18 minute 32 seconds at 511.7 kilometer. The last pair of nano-satellite was placed in its orbit after 28 minute 42 seconds at 524 kilometer.
Details of the Cartosat-2 series satellite
The Cartosat-2 series satellite is the primary satellite carried by PSLV-C37. Cartosat-37 satellite is similar to the earlier four satellites of the Cartosat-2 series. It was injected into the 506-kilometer polar Sun Synchronous Orbit. After separation, the two solar arrays of the Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) took over the control of the satellite.
In near future, the Cartosat-2 satellite after being operational completely will provide remote sensing services using multispectral (colour) and panchromatic (black and white) cameras.
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Use of Imageries sent by Cartosat-2 series satellites
The images sent by these satellites will be useful for cartographic applications, coastal land use and regulation, urban and rural applications and utility management like the creation of land use maps, road network monitoring, water distribution and change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features among others.